Fox picks up “Empire,” IFO confirms filming here

Caption: Writer/director Lee Daniels and star Terrance Howard

The sole pilot that shot in Chicago this year, happily has turned into a series.  Fox TV announced yesterday that dramatic “Empire” was picked up as a series for a slot on Fox’ fall schedule, as confirmed by Betsy Steinberg of the Illinois Film Office.

“Empire” filmed here in March at Cinespace. 

The drama from Imagine TV and Fox TV stars Terrance Howard as industry heavyweight, Lucious Lyon, a charismatic, savvy music superstar who is about to take his company, Empire Entertainment, public. Taraji P. Henson plays his ex-wife and former business partner.

Also in the cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Trai Byers, Kaitlin Doubleday, Grace Gealey, Bryshere ‘Yazz the Greatest’ Gray, Jussie Smollett and Malik Yoba.

“Empire” was written by “The Butler’s” Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and directed by Daniels.  Executive producers are Imagine TV’s Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Daniels and Strong.

Perhaps Fox TV’s decision to film “Empire” here will open the gates to an anticipated number of pilots out there that Chicago.